Turn Your Heart Toward Home

And so, dear friends who have hung in there with me on my own little Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, The Cardiac Event Edition®, I thank you. Today, I will indeed attempt to wrap up my sordid little tale, with a description of what it was like as we turned our hearts toward home.

Picture from here.
Just 72 hours after his heart surgery was done, my dear husband, The Big Bison, was released to go home from the hospital on Monday afternoon. I thought, and still think that was phenomenally fast, but, in fact, it turned out just fine.


 He went home still on oxygen, and that concerned me a great deal. I was on high alert for about a week, finding myself in charge of so much I felt completely incompetent to handle. Giving 8 medications to a man who’d previously taken none, some at morning, some at night, one twice a day, with names 8 syllables long and completely unfamiliar to me, was daunting. Being in charge of managing his oxygen situation, when I had no idea what his oxygen levels actually were, was frightening. Learning how to fill the oxygen tanks and put the regulator on the top of each tank, so that he could take walks while on oxygen was  confusing to my non-mechanical-focused-on-whether-or-not-my-husband-was-going-to-keel-over-dead brain. And then there was worrying about how long a walk should be, and whether or not he was overdoing it. Making sure he was weighed each morning, so that we knew he wasn’t retaining fluid. Watching his wound for any signs of infection. Making sure he didn’t let the shower water spray on the wound, nor pass out in the shower. Yup. The first week home was pretty awful. 

We have a water bed, and the first week home I was too scared to sleep in the bed with him, afraid I would roll over on him and into his wound. So we drug a twin mattress into his room and I slept on the floor at the foot of his bed. My friend said it reminded her of Ruth, sleeping at Boaz’s feet. But I think I was a lot more terrified than Ruth. The oxygen machine was loud: like sleeping on the Death Star, across the room from Darth Vader’s bunk. 


The first night, our power went off, and the oxygen machine SCREAMED three shrill beeps to let me know the power was off, so that I could hook up the emergency oxygen tank.(If you know me well, you know that I have a German Shepherd who freaks out at any high pitched beep, so that was an added bonus to this story.) You can imagine, then, what it’s like for a traumatized, sleep-deprived woman who has finally momentarily given up watching her husband wince and groan in his sleep, and allowed the Sand Man to gently coax her eyes shut, even while she left the lamp on, just in case her husband might have a crisis in the night and she should be needed, to wake up to the pitch black of the Boonies and said alarm SHRIEKING its cries of alert, right beside her bed on the floor. Guess which one of us had to be pried off the ceiling, one fingernail at a time? (And yes, the electricity immediately came back on, thank God.)

Picture of me taken immediately upon my awakening from  power outage, from here.





 The second night home, the whole family and the two big dogs were all squished on top of each other in the little downstairs bathroom with the oxygen tank, waiting for the tornados to finish blowing through. Honestly, sometimes I wondered if we had a big sign on our spiritual backs that read, “Job’s Family: KICK ME!” Could we not catch a break? 


But we DID make it through that week. Rough as it was, we did make it through. And in retrospect, we caught plenty of breaks, the biggest one being: my husband is alive! He was given the opportunity to get his ticker fixed. A lot of folks are not given that opportunity! So, truly, although I may not sound like it, I am thankful beyond words. (Just a little shell shocked.)



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Comments

  1. Oh Susan, you do indeed have a reason to be shell-shocked.
    I have to admit I chuckled out loud picturing all of you crammed in that bathroom.
    SO glad you’re on the other side of those first hard days!!

  2. Susan, I can feel the stress in your post. Isn’t it good though to be able to look back and laugh? Honestly, the image of you all and the oxygen tank crammed together makes me chuckle. Although I know it was in no way funny at the time. Gld the BB is doing so much better.

  3. power OUT and tornados too????

  4. After all this I can see why you would be shell-shocked! Yikes! So glad you can reflect back on this with some humor, but I know this experience has left you a changed woman. So glad you have your honey beside you now!

  5. At least you made it through without a large amphibian stealing your motorcar;)

    Take care of yourselves and allow plenty of time to ‘debrief’.

  6. Stephanie (Just Me) says

    (((Sooze))) How is he now? Are you still having to monitor stuff, or can you just focus now on building a very healthy lifestyle?

    I greatly admire your strength in being able to write your story out, and even laugh at parts of it. I bet it’s really good therapy. Remember YOU need some TLC and recovery time too, so don’t defer that too long, ‘K? The nurturer in me is going crazy wanting to help! 😉

  7. :hug:

    I’m so sorry you all have to go through this.

  8. Very well written post (not that all of yours aren’t Susan…) and best wishes and prayers to The Big Bison, hopefully he’s been through the worst and it all gets better from here. We’re all pulling for him (and you.)

  9. I laughed at your description of the shrieking incident! I’m so glad you wrote about this. It was so compelling to read, but more important, it was probably therapeutic for you in a lot of ways. Thanks for sharing all this!

  10. I read your post with interest, as my hubby had cancer surgery a few weeks ago, and I, too, was terrified of doing something wrong. He starts chemothereapy a week from Monday, and I’m still terrifed. Hope all goes well for the two of you.

    I just stopped by from SITS to say hello; hope you find the time to do the same.

  11. You made it through! How are things going now? And thanks for taking us along on your story. It articulates things in a way I never could about my heart attacks and related issues 4 years ago. And now those polysyllabic drug names are still part of my life, but no longer unfamiliar and just daily routine that allow me to keep on going with the heart issues in the backgound. I hope BB is the same, to where normal life will be back ASAP, just with a few new additions that help the heart keep doing what it’s supposed to do.

  12. Gosh! You are Wonder Woman! I’d have just reached for the duck tape! The Medicare Mom.

  13. You all lived!!! And you kept your sense of humor. You are one amazing woman, Susan in the Boonies.

    love, c

  14. Oh, Mr. Toad and his Wild Ride… At least, it is never boring!

    Glad to hear the BB survived the weather and the recovery with aplomb. Take care of yourself. We tend to put ourselves last, and the resulting crash-after-the-storm is a doozy.

  15. I can’t get over your having a water bed. Ahoy!

  16. what a wild ride indeed! so glad it ended well though.

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